Stories from the front lines of an unplanned pregnancy.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's like I've swallowed a time bomb...

Seven weeks. I was seven weeks pregnant when Christian stumbled out of the bathroom, in a fog of disbelief that wouldn't lift for another week, and told me it was positive. Life was flying full speed ahead, and we decided to climb on board, holding tight by the threads of our good intentions.

Now, there are only seven weeks left, maybe less. We're strapped in, backs slammed flat against the seat, totally helpless as this roller coaster climbs to it's dizzying peak. Nothing to do now but squeeze each other's clammy hands and wait. Wait for the split second of motionlessness and then that gut wrenching, heart dropping, breath stealing plummet into the unknown.

I have never been so terrified.

Somehow, thirty three weeks have shot by, and we still haven't even bought a carseat. Decided on a pediatrician. Gotten our membership to Costco. Taken a Lamaze class. Set up the bassinet, read The Happiest Baby on the Block, packed a hospital bag, stocked up on diapers, chose a nursing bra, arranged for time off, learned how to swaddle, picked out birth announcements, gone on a vacation, unpacked the baby clothes, ordered the stroller-- Looking back, I'm amazed we've managed to get our health insurance together. Hell, I'm amazed we've even managed to pick out a name.

And this, this shit is just the preparations we've yet to make. When I try to wrap my mind around the actual birth, the fact that when all is said and done, they will hand us this helpless little stranger and entrust his life to our hands. Four hands, might I add, that until fairly recently were nearly incapable of washing dishes without shattering a glass or two. How do people do this?

It's only a little comforting to realize that even the people who've been shooting up fertility drugs since I was in middle school and had the nursery professionally decorated before they even heard a heartbeat, the people who sat for professional pregnancy portraits and pre-ordered a lifetime supply of Huggies after the first ultrasound, those people... in reality, they're in for just as much of a shock as we are once their little bundle of whatever actually gets here. Not just when dear baby unswallows a stomachful of organic formula all over their $100 cashmere receiving blanket thirty seconds after they get them wrapped up, but the minute that they get them home and realize that all the parenting books in the world and all the planning and preparation you can squeeze into forty weeks is nothing in the face of a real live baby.

Parenthood, the great equalizer. We're all reduced to a puddle of nerves and love and hope and terror at the feet of our children. Without the help of a full time nanny, it's all on the job training, and we will screw up.

So, maybe Ian will still grow up to be a perfectly healthy, fully functioning member of society, despite the lack of matching crib bedding in his youth. Maybe stressing out over choosing a "parenting philosophy" (and then doing the requisite reading and buying the follow up dvd set) will just take away from actual parenting. Maybe he won't suffer developmental delays and be whisked away by social services after I inevitably bump his head on the door of the car when I'm trying to get him strapped in. And maybe, just maybe, I need to take a deep breath and recognize that if we trust our instincts and aren't afraid to ask for a little help when we need it, Mr. A, our spawn, and I will be just fine.

...But we've really got to get a carseat.

With love an crossed fingers,

1 comment:

mercurial scribe said...

You and us both, lady. 6.5 weeks left and we have 1) a crib and 2) a high chair. Oh, and some onesies the grandparents just HAD to buy.

I look at our bank account and think "Diapers, blankets, whatever we don't get at the baby shower..." and break into a cold sweat.

Yet people all the world over are still making kids. How we all make it is a universal mystery.